The Boy I Knew

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Family Visit

Aiden didn’t want to get up. He was comfortable in his bed. The pillows were soft, the comforter was warm, and Kellen was next to him. He could have stayed in bed all day. Honestly, he didn’t even know why he’d ever want to get out of bed when he blinked open his sleepy eyes and smiled lazily at the sight in front of him.

Kellen was lying next to him, eyes closed and his chest rising and falling steadily. His brown hair was spread across the pillow underneath him. The t-shirt he’d borrowed from Aiden had ridden up to reveal his smooth stomach. Aiden felt heat run through him at the sight, but it was Kellen’s closeness that made him feel warm. The other man had his arm thrown over Aiden’s carelessly. Their legs were intertwined.

Aiden snuggled closer, watching Kellen’s nose crinkle as he groaned unhappily at the prospect of waking up.

“Too early,” he mumbled.

Aiden smiled over at the other man, even though Kellen still hadn’t opened his eyes. “You have work today, baby,” he said softly, nosing at Kellen’s throat.

The other man groaned again. “Class today instead of tomorrow… have to get up.” He sighed heavily. “I get to sleep on the way to your parents’, right?”

“You going to be okay getting there?” Aiden asked gently.

Kellen hummed, finally opening his eyes. They were bleary and unfocused, but Kellen was clearly paying attention. “I still get panicky in cars. But as long as you don’t drive like a maniac, I’ll be fine.”

Aiden wasn’t sure how true that was considering that he’d never been in a car with Kellen before, but he decided to take the other man’s word for it. And drive as carefully as possible. But for now, Aiden leaned forward to kiss him on his cheek, softly and slowly. “Thanks for agreeing to this. I know it’s hard for you to get away when you have work.”

Kellen seemed more awake as raised his chin so that Aiden could have more access to his neck. Aiden took advantage of it, showering Kellen with tiny kisses that made the other man sign in contentment.

“They’re your parents, Aiden. I’d like to meet them,” he said simply. “It’ll be nice to do it before you head back to your team too.”

Aiden stopped for a moment. Over the few weeks they’d been together, they’d talked about what they were going to do when Aiden started playing again. Aiden knew that there would be days when he wouldn’t be able to talk to Kellen, and the thought of that killed him.

Kellen reached up to touch his face with a warm hand, getting his attention and meeting Aiden’s gaze. “Aiden, we’re going to be okay. Relationships that happen between two busy people long distance are hard, but I’m not going anywhere. I’ll send you a dorky text every day if you’d like. Or a dirty one if that’s more your style,” he said with a sly smile.

Like always, Kellen had gotten him to smile. “I don’t care if you send me pictures of kittens every day. I’ll always come back,” Aiden insisted, leaning forward again to give Kellen a deep kiss. He groaned when Kellen opened his mouth, moaning lightly when Aiden rolled on top of him. The kisses were slow and lazy. Kellen opened his legs so that Aiden could lie more easily between them.

Aiden loved mornings like these the best. He loved the lazy kisses and slowly wandering hands. As Kellen’s hands ran up his chest and over his back, Kellen bucked his hips, making Aiden groan into their kiss. He let his own hand rest lightly on Kellen’s stomach, skimming upwards at a tantalizing pace.

Kellen’s breaths were coming more quickly, making Aiden smile against his lips. His hand wandered up Kellen’s stomach, hitting his chest and pushing the too-large t-shirt up. He kissed Kellen deeply, enjoying the muffled groans that erupted from his throat.

He was so invested in kissing that he didn’t notice when Kellen hooked his legs around Aiden’s and flipped them over so he was on top. Aiden blinked in surprise at the sudden change in position, looking up at Kellen now and the sly smirk on his face. “And here I thought you liked it on the bottom,” Aiden said jokingly.

Even the innuendo didn’t faze Kellen. His eyes only brightened as that smirk turned sexy and Kellen leaned down to put his hands on Aiden’s chest. “Oh, honey, I’m fine either way, but there are so many things we haven’t gotten the chance to try from this position too.” His voice was low and husky. Aiden could feel his heart beat faster. He was incredibly happy that he was only wearing a loose pair of sweatpants.

“But for now, we’ll have to go a little quick so I can get to work,” Kellen apologized. He leaned in close to kiss Aiden’s pulse point, slowly kissing over Aiden’s collarbone, down his chest, and over his stomach. Aiden was the one breathing quickly now as Kellen got closer and closer to exactly where Aiden wanted him. Kellen was definitely skilled at more than just witty comments and sexy smirks when it came to his mouth.

Aiden wished that he had more time to really reciprocate, to make Kellen come undone in the best way possible, but teasing Kellen in the shower was fun too. Under the spray of the water, Aiden could still hear how his every touch brought Kellen closer to the edge. They ended up spending most of the time fooling around, and only about five minutes actually showering.

“Okay, I’ll see you later, hun,” Kellen said with a kiss as he buttoned up his coat. “I should be done around five. Olivia and B will close up and I’ll be good to go for the weekend. I’ll just have to run back to my place to shower before we go.”

“Meet you there?” Aiden said happily.

“Sure. We can leave from there if you drive your car,” Kellen replied easily. He kissed Aiden again on the cheek and stepped out, raising his earmuffs as he did so.

Aiden was glad that he’d managed to pick a place close enough to Kick Up Your Heels that Kellen was fine sleeping over. They ended up sleeping in the same bed almost every night, whether that was at Aiden’s or Kellen’s. Aiden found that he could feel comfortable with Kellen no matter where they were, even when he was there holding onto Kellen during one of his migraines.

He hoped that feeling of comfort extended to his parents’ house as he picked up Kellen that evening and they headed out. Aiden could see right away that Kellen was nervous about being in a car. His fingers kept tapping on his leg, which hadn’t stopped bouncing in the ten minutes since they’d left. He was jumpier than usual too, completely unlike his usual relaxed personality.

“Kellen, baby,” Aiden said softly as he pulled over for a moment.

Kellen blinked in confusion. “Er, are you okay? Why are we pulling over?”

Aiden turned in his seat. “Kellen, you’re definitely not okay,” he said matter-of-factly.

Kellen sighed. “I’m sorry, Aiden. I know it’s silly that I’m so nervous.”

“It’s definitely not silly,” Aiden said, grabbing Kellen’s hand tightly. He couldn’t imagine what Kellen had gone through or how traumatic his car accident had been. They were driving in the dark too, which couldn’t make Kellen feel any better. “I get nervous about literally nothing, so I’m an expert on silly reasons to get nervous,” he added gently.

Kellen smiled slightly, taking a deep breath. “I don’t think any of those reasons are silly, you know. Let’s stop saying ‘silly’ by the way; it’s starting to lose its meaning.”

Aiden chuckled at Kellen’s more usual lighthearted speech. He squeezed Kellen’s hand and gave him a more serious expression. “Kellen, I know you’re nervous. And I know things happen, but I’m right here. I’ll keep you safe.”

“And you,” Kellen said without hesitating. At Aiden’s confused expression, he went on, “And keep yourself safe too. I love you, Aiden,” he said with a shrug, “I wouldn’t want anything happening to you.”

Aiden leaned forward to give Kellen a hug that was slightly awkward over the middle console, but no less meaningful. He gave Kellen a kiss on the lips, raising his hand to cup Kellen’s cheek and run his thumb gently along his cheekbone. “The feeling’s mutual then,” he said quietly, sitting back in place. “Deep breaths, Kellen. Tell me if you want me to pull over too, okay?”

Kellen gave him this grateful look that made Aiden’s heart melt. As Aiden pulled back onto the road, Kellen hummed. “I only threw up from riding in a car twice since the accident by the way.”

“I think that’s two too many, but dare I ask?”

“The first one wasn’t my fault. Maia, the elder of my younger sisters, had only just gotten her license and she was the only one available to drive. I yelled at her to stop the car and threw up on the side of the highway,” Kellen remembered. “She gave anyone who drove by and looked at us funny the finger.”

Aiden laughed under his breath. He hadn’t met Kellen’s sisters when they’d been kids, or the rest of his family for that matter. The only one he felt like he really knew was Kellen’s dad, since Kellen had told him all about the man who had already passed away. They’d even visited the man’s grave, although that had been years ago.

Even without meeting them in person, Aiden would admit that he also knew Kellen’s sisters to an extent. It was clear that Kellen was very proud of them, showing Aiden pictures and telling him all about the loud and energetic Maia and the quiet but faithful Rory.

“I really have to meet your sisters,” Aiden commented with a smile.

Kellen smiled back, relaxing slightly already. “They’re dying to meet you too. They would probably already be here if they weren’t so busy with everything.” There was a note of sadness in his voice, the one that always cropped up when Kellen remembered how easily his mother and stepdad moved on with their new family. He didn’t resent them or how happy they were, but Aiden could see how it hurt Kellen to feel like his own family didn’t want him.

Except for his sisters. “They miss you, huh?” Aiden asked.

“They love coming into the city, or spending a few days with me. Maybe we could both go down and see them when you get back,” he suggested somewhat timidly.

Aiden thought about patting Kellen on the thigh, but he knew Kellen wouldn’t appreciate him removing a hand from the wheel. Instead, he said, “Or maybe when I come in for a few games here? I might be able to fly back a few times during the season too for short amounts of time.”

Kellen was the one who patted his leg. “No pressure, honey. But you may be getting a call from Maia at some point. She’s video chat savvy, so don’t be surprised.”

Aiden laughed to himself. “Tell her that I look forward to it. But come on, second time you threw up from riding in the car: go.”

“I also maintain that this wasn’t my fault,” Kellen said sternly, but he ruined the serious atmosphere with his laugh. “My mom was in the car with me and she kept asking me about something. I don’t remember what. She was really into trying to get me used to being in cars again. But we were on the highway and my stepdad couldn’t pull over and my mom just kept talking, so Maia and Rory started yelling at her to stop, and… I rolled down the window and puked. Not one of my better moments.”

Kellen made a face, clearly remembering it. Aiden winced. “How did the car behind you do?”

He was being serious, but Kellen barked with laughter. “I didn’t even think of that,” he said in between laughs. “My sisters held onto me so I didn’t fall out the window, but god, what the people behind us must have thought.”

Aiden shook his head fondly at Kellen. “Well, if you do need to puke, I actually have bags in the glove compartment, and mints to get the taste out of your mouth.” He let his eyes lock onto Kellen’s surprised ones for a second before turning back to the road. “You said being in the car makes you nervous, so I put those in there just in case.”

Kellen’s smile was tender. “My hero,” he said, half joking and half serious. “And here I was worried you might think I was just a mess after hearing stories about me getting sick.”

“I mean, you’ve literally brought me medicine when I’m in the bathroom, so I’m not sure which one of us has more problems,” Aiden said to him with a wry smile. That wasn’t one of his proudest moments either. Kellen, as always, hadn’t even been fazed.

Kellen chuckled, his shoulders considerably more relaxed and his legs no longer bouncing. He’d stopped tapping his fingers. “Alright, tell me something funny about your brothers,” he commanded, shifting to adjust the heat.

That was easy. There were so many stupid stories about him and his brothers that it was almost hard to pick only one. Aiden ended up choosing the one about Isaac’s first girlfriend, who had snuck into Aiden’s room by mistake instead of Isaac’s. Aiden screamed, Ian came in and clocked her before he saw who it was, and Isaac got into a world of trouble. She broke up with him too, which was probably for the best after Ian almost broke her nose. Ian actually felt pretty bad about that with how angry Isaac was with him.

Aiden was almost done with the story when he realized Kellen had stopped responding. Chancing a look to his right, he let out a breath. Kellen had fallen asleep in an uncomfortable-looking position, his head against the window. But he was sleeping, which made Aiden glad that he could relax Kellen enough for his boyfriend to finally get some rest.

He only woke Kellen when he’d parked in front of his parents’ place. “Hey, baby, we’re here,” he murmured, shaking Kellen lightly.

“Already?” Kellen murmured, rubbing his eyes sleepily as he looked over at Aiden.

Aiden couldn’t resist kissing him quickly on the lips. He was just adorable when he was waking up. “It’s only an hour drive,” he commented idly.

Kellen tried to stretch, having a hard time of it in the car. He ran his hand over his face, rubbing his eyes again as if to wake up. “Hey, you’re a good driver,” he said easily.

“Told you,” Aiden taunted.

Kellen looked over to see the house. “Been a while since I’ve been here,” he said softly. Aiden remembered the last time too, one of the many nights when Kellen gave him a quick kiss in the morning and snuck out before anyone knew he was there. Kellen turned back to him with a mischievous smile. “It would be funny as hell if I climbed in your window and surprised your whole family.”

Aiden rolled his eyes fondly. “Okay, that would be funny, but while you can live down the awkwardness, I’m not sure everyone else could.”

Kellen laughed, looking as upbeat as usual again. He’d broken whatever tension Aiden was feeling at being back here with Kellen after so many years. Whether he’d done it consciously or not was Aiden’s guess as Kellen got out and Aiden followed behind.

It felt momentous somehow to walk up to the front door with Kellen by his side. They were staying for the weekend with everyone else, as kind of a goodbye to Aiden before he went back for the season.

Maybe that was why Aiden felt like it was such a big deal to lead Kellen to the door with their hands clasped together. He’d never introduced anyone to his parents. His mother knew about Kellen, but she hadn’t even known his name before Aiden told her recently. Now, after all these years, he was bringing the man he loved home. Through the door this time instead of the window.

It made Aiden’s stomach flip partially out of nerves and partially out of excitement. Kellen caught onto his mood quickly, running his thumb along Aiden’s knuckles soothingly. Aiden looked back at him, wondering how Kellen was able to read him so well.

He gave Kellen a quick peck on the cheek before he keyed in, unsurprised at the noise that greeted them when they got the door open. The house was never quiet when everyone was there. All the noise guaranteed that no one should have noticed their arrival, but Aiden had stopped being surprised by his mother a long time ago.

The blonde stepped in quietly, clearly trying to be inconspicuous for the moment. “Aiden, sweetie,” she greeted, reaching up to give him a hearty hug. She didn’t waste any time moving from Aiden to Kellen, giving him a kind smile.

“Kellen, right? Aiden’s sweetheart?” she asked.

Aiden knew his ears got red at his mother’s specific term of endearment. Kellen had clearly noticed, but only nodded to his mother. “That’s me. Kellen Konrad, ma’am.”

“Oh, none of that,” the blonde said, waving him off. “Tessa is fine. It’s so nice to finally meet you, Kellen.”

“You too, uh, Tessa,” Kellen got out, looking awkwardly pleased. Aiden smirked to himself; his mom was a master at affection, which probably threw Kellen off a bit considering his own relationship with his mother. “By the way, I hope you don’t think less of me for literally sneaking into your home all the time.”

“To be honest, it’s nice you got the right window every time,” she said wryly. “Besides, Aiden looked happy with you then, and look how happy he looks with you now. There’s nothing for me to be mad about.” She patted his hand easily. “But if you really want to make it up to me, I will never refuse learning a few dance steps.”

Kellen laughed loudly, probably unintentionally. His face lit up with a smile. “I’m always game for dancing. Waltz or hip-hop?”

Aiden watched his mother’s eyes light up. “Can I learn both?”

“Well, you’ll need your husband for the waltz, so as long as you can convince him to join, sure,” Kellen said easily, handing his coat to Aiden when Aiden prompted him. He followed Aiden’s lead on where to place his shoes too as Aiden’s mother sighed dramatically.

“It might take some work then. I’d ask you to be my partner for that, but I don’t think I could steal my son’s partner from him,” she said with a sly smile in Aiden’s direction.

“Mom,” Aiden complained. She only laughed along with Kellen. Aiden already had a feeling that these two would never let him live anything down when they were both in the same room. The thought made him smile more than it should have.

“Now, come on boys. Dinner’s almost done. Your dad is making his special chicken tonight for chicken tacos and sandwiches,” she said proudly.

Unlike his brothers, Aiden’s dad could make most simple foods more or less alright. Aiden was grateful for that as they stepped into the kitchen to chicken that didn’t smell burnt and that hopefully had no sour cream on it. He wasn’t sure that he could stomach sour cream for a while after Ian’s well-meaning but poor effort.

“Jacob,” his mom called out softly, making his dad turn look up from the book that Aiden knew he hadn’t been reading. For one, he didn’t read books. Secondly, it was definitely one of those history books that his mom was always picking up in the effort to “learn everything about everything.”

Aiden watched his dad stand up, looking a little awkward, but giving them a smile all the same. “Aiden,” he greeted warmly, giving him a hug just like his mom had. When he turned to Kellen, he didn’t seem to know what to do, so he just held his hand out. “Kellen?”

“That’s me, sir,” Kellen said with an easy smile. If he was feeling awkward, he didn’t show it at all. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“You too, Kellen,” his dad said sincerely. “But Jacob is alright.” He cleared his throat. “Dinner will be done in a second, so why don’t you say hello to the others?”

The moment Aiden and Kellen stepped away, Kellen said quietly, “Hey, that went well. Your dad’s trying.” Aiden had warned Kellen that his dad was still getting used to the idea of them dating. He was glad that Kellen, as always, didn’t seem intimidated one bit.

“Yeah, he is,” Aiden responded softly. He looked back to his dad, who was talking quietly with his mom as she patted his back comfortingly. He was awkward about it, but he really was trying. Aiden appreciated it.

“Uncle Aiden! Kellen!” Aiden picked up Nikki and swung her around as usual, settling her on his hip. She insisted on getting a hug from Kellen too from up there, smiling widely.

Aiden was happy to see how easily Kellen got along with all his siblings, who tried unsuccessfully to get him to stutter or stammer. Kellen deflected them expertly every time with that sly smirk of his. The only person who could even remotely throw Kellen off his game was Aiden’s mom, who’s simple brand of care and sarcasm meshed perfectly with Kellen’s sense of humor. Aiden smiled to himself; Kellen had always had a weakness for compliments.

In the noise and cheerfulness that surrounded them after dinner, Letta asked Kellen to show her a few dance moves. She apparently wanted to prove to Nikki and Ian that she could definitely be cool. Kellen agreed with a laugh, giving her a few basics that wouldn’t cause her to break her ankle. At her request, Kellen did a more complicated catch with her, having her fall before he pulled her up and swung her around like a swing dancer might.

Aiden watched fondly as Letta dizzily tried to get her feet back under her, laughing the entire time while the others clapped. Even his dad was looking more relaxed, his eyes crinkling as he watched. His mother was beyond excited, and Lyla kept asking if Kellen was capable of doing that kind of move with one of the guys. Predictably, Ian and Isaac protested, claiming that they were much better at things that didn’t require being spun around.

As Aiden watched his whole family get along with his boyfriend, he started feeling overwhelmed. He didn’t know why. There was just something about this moment that got to him, that made his throat feel tight and his heart leap in his chest.

He was starting to feel too hot. Aiden swallowed, needing a moment to gather himself again. When he turned to step out the back door for some air, Kellen gave him a concerned look from his place sitting with Nikki next to him. Ian was telling them all some story about something Aiden hadn’t been paying attention to. Aiden only shook his head at Kellen with a little smile, letting him know that he was fine.

The noise was left inside as Aiden shut the door behind him, taking a few steps onto the snow-covered porch in whoever’s shoes that had been sitting next to the door. The cold surrounded him, his shirt doing nothing to keep it at bay. Aiden didn’t pay any attention to it as he looked up at the starry sky, his breath fogging up the air in front of him.

He should have known that Kellen would step out to join him only a few minutes later. The brunette must have slipped out unnoticed too, since he wasn’t wearing his jacket either. His feet had to have been cold in the pair of house slippers he’d grabbed.

“You okay, honey?” Kellen asked, that concerned frown still coloring his features.

Aiden answered with a sound kiss on the lips. It had only been a few hours since they’d kissed, but for some reason, it felt like it had been years since Aiden had felt Kellen’s warm mouth beneath his. He had absolutely no idea how he would handle being away from Kellen when he couldn’t ever get enough of him even when they were in the same room.

Kellen made a surprised noise in the back of his throat, kissing back after his senses returned to him. Aiden didn’t feel all that cold anymore with Kellen making him feel much too warm, especially when he opened his mouth with a satisfied sigh. Aiden only pulled back when they were both breathless, their heavy breathing fogging up the air in front of them.

“What was that about?” Kellen murmured, blinking in an effort to pay attention.

“I just… I’m so happy, Kellen,” Aiden said, trying to get across how much he really, truly meant it. He never thought he would get this. He never thought he would be able to bring a man home that his family accepted so easily. He’d yearned for this in high school, and now he had it. Now, everything he wanted was right in front of him and he wasn’t quite sure how to express the heady feeling in his heart. It was almost too much to handle. He couldn’t articulate it.

Kellen must have understood as he gave Aiden an indulgent smile. “I am too,” he said simply, yet with just as much emotion as Aiden. He placed his hands in Aiden’s. “You up for a little dance?”

There was no music. Neither of them was wearing proper shoes or coats. The porch light was on, reflecting the thousands of tiny sparkles in the snow. Aiden barely paid attention to any of it as he stared into Kellen’s eyes, swaying back and forth with him calmly. There was no rush to their pace as they moved, their bodies pressed together and their breaths mingling in the air between them.

“I like this,” Aiden said quietly, not wanting to disturb the atmosphere.

Kellen only hummed lowly in his throat, adjusting his position so that he could rest his head atop Aiden’s shoulder. Aiden took the cue to keep leading them, his heart feeling even larger in his chest with Kellen in his arms. He could have stayed there with the man forever if they didn’t eventually lose feeling in their fingers.

“Sorry, hun,” Kellen apologized after ten minutes in the cold, his teeth chattering as Aiden directed him back to the door with a hand on the small of his back.

“Next time we’ll need coats,” Aiden said with a smile in his voice. He wasn’t feeling so overwhelmed anymore. Kellen always made him relax, especially as he drew Kellen close for a solid kiss on his lips that left the both of them feeling more dazed than they should be considering that they were two steps away from stepping back into Aiden’s parents’ house.

“You can’t kiss me like that unless you want to relive our high school days in your room,” Kellen murmured against his lips.

“Don’t tempt me,” Aiden said lowly. “We’re already sleeping in the same bed tonight. It’s going to be hard enough keeping my hands off you.”

Kellen groaned. “You can’t say things like that, not when I’m too cold to tease you back,” he whined, shivering.

Aiden laughed in amusement, leading him back inside. He did seriously try valiantly not to touch Kellen intimately that night and just go to sleep. It was admittedly hard though considering that they were both bigger than they’d been but Aiden’s old bed was still the same size. Kellen started chuckling quietly at how quickly Aiden flushed when their bodies pressed together.

“Do you think you can still be quiet, Aiden?” Kellen taunted playfully, his voice low and husky.

You’re the one that’s usually loud,” Aiden shot back. God, he loved it when Kellen was loud. Every little noise only made Aiden more excited.

Kellen laughed breathlessly. “Because you’re the one who’s only gotten better at dirty talk.”

Aiden chuckled under his breath as he kissed Kellen deeply, wrapping his arms around the other man. Kellen was the one with those skilled fingers that skimmed over Aiden like he was something to be cherished. Kellen was the one who made Aiden feel loved, each and every time.

Even if Aiden didn’t know how to say all of that, he hoped he was able to make Kellen understand as he pressed their bodies together and tried to keep it quiet, just like they used to.

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